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As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

How can you tell if someone will be successful? When I was in high school, they still had a category for a graduating senior titled: Voted Most Likely to Succeed. How, at 18-years-old, could classmates look at someone and say, “Yeah, I think they will be the most successful person in our graduating class.”

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

The way my husband structures his day is different from how I organize mine, but there is one thing we both do. We start with a morning routine. I make coffee, read the news while eating my breakfast, and then dive into an hour of bible study. Once I finish, I pull out my journal and plan my day. About 2 years ago I discovered an organizational method that resonated with me.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.  

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.  

Table manners seem to be the area in which I receive most of my questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in handling an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction.

I recently bumped into a friend at the store, and as we began talking, she expressed how she struggles with the holidays. When January rolls around, she feels like she somehow “missed out.” I understand this feeling because I, too, have often felt this way. Life was so busy with the preparation of celebration, that I missed the joy that awaited each of us this time of year.

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party that looked scared to death, unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screaming, “I wish I was anywhere but here!” Entering a room full of people that you do not know can be intimidating. I get that. Yet, your entrance is important in displaying overall confidence and portraying a strong image.

Giving a party, of any type, requires a great deal of work. If you have been fortunate enough to be included in a festive soiree, it is nice to arrive with a gift for the hostess. The typical present will cost between $15-$30, but there are less expensive things you can find at the local discount store.

  • Lisa Lou

Image Matters

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

Which home would you purchase?

Which guy would you date?

Which books would you buy?

I recently asked a group of college students these questions showing them the same photos. I had them shout out adjectives for the pictures they were viewing. For the home I heard: beautiful; wealthy; cared for; loving family; some place I want to live. For the broken-down home they said: old; no curb appeal; I wouldn’t go near it; scary; unstable.

For the well-dressed man the descriptions were: successful; cares about himself; confident; knows where he is going in life. For the couch-potato man: unsuccessful; not motivated; a slob; poor; doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

For the two books, I am sure you can guess which one the students said they would purchase, and which one they would leave on the shelf.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” we grew up hearing. Well, guess what? Every one of these college girls just did (and I bet you did, too!). Image matters!

First impressions are formed within 2 seconds. Whether you speak with that person or not. We did not speak to the men in the pictures above, yet we already have opinions about the type of people they are. When a company wants to sell a product, they hire a marketing firm to create beautiful images that will speak to their customers. They try to create an image that makes you say, “I can’t live without that!” People are no different. When we market ourselves and show we care about our outward “package” we are telling others we take pride in who we are. Our image tells a story. The question is, what story is it telling?

A research study led by a Harvard professor revealed women in the work force who wore makeup were viewed as more competent, friendlier, AND made 10% more than women who did not wear makeup. This was not glamour makeup, but just enough to show they cared about their appearance. Too much makeup gave the impression the subject was not comfortable with herself and no makeup made people think she was anti-social. This study had NOTHING to do with whether people thought the test subjects were physically attractive. I want to make that clear. The result of the study: people that appeared to groom themselves and show pride in themselves were better received than those that did not.

If an employer sees a potential employee as someone that is well groomed, they will think, “If she takes pride in herself, then I know she will take pride in our company and represent us well.” Yet, the opposite is also true. If we do not show we take pride in the image we portray, a future employer may think, “If she does not take pride in who she is, then why can I trust that she will take pride in our company?”

Look at the below photos and ask yourself, “Where does my eye immediately go?”

Both women are physically beautiful, but in the first photo the eye is drawn to the triangle area of the woman’s face. Somewhere between the forehead and the neck is where the eye lands. In the second photo, where did your eyes go? For most, it would go straight to the cleavage!

As women, we want our appearance to say many things about us, but the most important thing to portray is strength in who we are as a person. How do we do this? Where is our center of power found? Answer: In the triangle of our face.

If we do anything to take a person’s eyes away from our face, we have lost power. When we arrive at an event not dressed appropriately, it does not make us look unique, it makes us look like we do not know what we are doing. And that, my friends, reduces our strength.

How we appear on the outside reflects who we are on the inside. I love the example Cynthia Grosso, owner of the Charleston School of Protocol, uses when she describes an iceberg in comparison to our image. She says the top of the iceberg that is visible makes up 15% of the entire formation. The other 85% of the ice is under the water and out of sight. It is not visible to our naked eye.

This holds true to our image, as well. How we portray ourselves on the outside is a direct reflection of who we are on the inside. Our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors (the hidden part of the iceberg) WILL be reflected in our exterior image (the visible part of the iceberg), which includes our appearance and our manners. Though the other person forming a first impression about us may bring their biases into the decision, they are forming their first impression based on what WE are telling them. Though we may never speak, we are communicating very loudly to that person what they should think.

“What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson. Your image is your resume in billboard fashion. Take pride in yourself. You are your own best advocate!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou

Get rid of the noise in your life. Join Lisa Lou and receive commonsense, faith-based advice for the modern woman.

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